Top 10-#1 Laugh!

A few years ago I gave a talk in Argentina listing 10 of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life. I will be blogging on these lessons every day for 10 consecutive days. I hope they will inspire you and motivate you to come up with your top 10! #1 Laugh a lot It’s so easy for us to be overly serious. We stress. We’re tired. We are overwhelmed. We feel guilty about the stuff we did and the stuff we didn’t do. We need to lighten up. The cliché is true that laughter is good medicine. Research proves it. Paul E. McGhee spent 22 years researching the health benefits of humor; he concluded: “Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” He thinks laughter is so important, he calls it “the laughter remedy!” In his book, Health, Healing, and the Amuse System: Humor as Survival Training, Dr. McGhee promotes an 8-step program: Determine the nature of your own sense of humor Become less serious and cultivate a more playful attitude in life (this is the basic foundation for your sense of humor) Develop a more hearty and healthy belly laugh Improve your joke-telling skills Create your own spontaneous verbal humor Find humor in everyday life Laugh at yourself, and Start applying these skills to cope with stress. So chill out, lighten up and...

I Don’t Know What I Want To Be When I Grow Up! May05

I Don’t Know What I Want To Be When I Grow Up!

Perhaps you think you’re the only one who says, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” Actually, it’s more common than you think. I even heard the phrase from two 50-somethings this week. If you are asking deep questions about who you are, what you’re good at, or what you REALLY want to do, you’re not alone. We all desire to know who we are and what work will be fun and fulfilling. Some people don’t know because they’ve focused on others, like their kids. Some have let life push them instead of them pushing life. Some have spent all their energy working for a paycheck, or have perhaps never given themselves permission to ask, “What would I really like to do?” How about you? Get Control Of Your Life is not about giving you formulas or steps. There are enough websites, book authors and motivational speakers already out there with 5 or 10 simple steps to success. I think life is more complex, so here you will find no magic bullets for life, secret recipes for success, or easy plans. We all get to figure stuff out for ourselves. However, there is help. Here are some principles that have served me: Look for patterns Know thyself Inform thyself Motivate thyself Connect thyself Submit thyself Look for patterns Think about what you’ve enjoyed doing throughout your life. What were the projects or initiatives that were really fun, fulfilling, made you feel good about yourself, and gave you the sense that you made a difference? Take some time alone to reflect on this question. Go for a walk. Get quiet. Get out some paper and make a list. You may be surprised at what you unveil. When I look back on my life, I see patterns. I love communication. I enjoy making videos for non-profits. I like to write. I love to influence people. I adore teaching, and I realized that everything I do has a teaching motivation, whether it’s speaking, writing, or producing. I’m a news junkie, and I love to tell stories. I love the challenge of trying to represent God accurately and without all the religious baggage. It was only as I began to create Get Control Of Your Life that I remembered some things I did as a child. Wow, I found patterns! As a little blond-headed girl of maybe 8 or 9, I decided to publish a newspaper. (See me in the cover photo of this post.) I apparently wrote some articles and glued the tiny comic from bubble gum or Cracker Jack (caramel coated popcorn and peanuts with a “prize”) for the comic section of my “paper.” I then posted the paper on the light pole in front of our house. Years later, as an adult, I was the copy editor on a hospital ship called The Anastasis. With a typewriter (we’re talking 1982-83) and a lousy photocopier, I “published” The Daily Plan-It, a takeoff on The Daily Planet where Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane worked. It was great fun, and I loved informing my shipmates of key announcements and putting a smile on their faces with little anecdotes and jokes. Another thing I did as a kid was pretend to be a news anchor, and one night I performed the news in front of my parents and grandparents. I must have been quite young because it was that night I learned what a weather forecast is! As a graduate student in the late 1980s, I worked on a weekly newscast on The Family Channel and got to be a real news anchor. In the 1990s I worked for two news stations in Dallas. Now I’m a bona fide blogger and soon-to-be podcaster. I’m writing, telling stories, connecting others to resources, and sharing ideas What patterns and connections do you see in your life? Know thyself Take some...

Pleasantville

It seemed everything was perfect. Kids were happy, fathers got a fully cooked dinner after a long day at work, the streets were clean, and there was no crime anywhere to be found. It was the idealized American 1950s. It’s all the residents of the small town knew. But life turned messy when two teenagers from the next century invaded their perfect space. You see, the place was a fictionalized town inside a fictionalized movie called Pleasantville released 1998. The film starred Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Jeff Daniels and Don Knotts. The film began in the 1990s. Tobey’s character David longed for the simplicity of the 1950s. The victim of his parents’ failed marriage, a stressed-out mother, and an absent father, David escaped his painful reality by watching old re-runs of a 1950s TV show, Pleasantville. And Reece’s character, Jennifer, was obsessed with being popular at school and sleeping with every high school boy she could seduce. Her value was based on being liked by others. One day, while fighting over the television remote, David and Jennifer were magically transported into the 1950s world of Pleasantville, only to find the town residents living in black-and-white, just like the TV show. What they found were isolated, ignorant and shallow residents. While everything seemed wonderful on the surface, the reality was that the townsfolk knew of nothing outside their tiny world, and were ignorant to the beauty of art, the mind-expanding knowledge of books and the intimacy of deep relationships. David and Jennifer could not help being who they were (themselves from the 1990s). As they interacted with Pleasantville’s residents, things began to change. As folks experienced beauty, choice, knowledge and passion, they began to change from 2-dimensional characters in black and white to 3-dimensional characters...

Living With Purpose

“Finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer,” says psychology researcher, Patrick Hill of Carleton University. Hill and his colleague Nicholas Turiano recently published “Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood,” in the journal, Psychological Science, adding to a list of studies that show the importance of living life with purpose. Many studies have shown the physical benefits of psychological wellbeing. And several have even studied attitudes about life purpose. But Hill and Turiano (of the University of Rochester Medical Center) decided to see  if the benefits of purpose vary over time and help people deal with life transitions. They looked at data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, funded by the National Institute on Aging. They examined responses about purpose from over 6,000 participants over a 14-year period. They found those who had reported a greater sense of purpose outlived their peers. In fact, they had a 15% lower risk of death compared to their more aimless counterparts Purpose turned out to be a greater predictor of long life than other factors including gender and emotional wellbeing. We know there are many influences on our health and aging. It is not simply the fate of our DNA that determines our happiness, success and longevity. Living a life of purpose is a uniquely human endeavor. There seems to be a drive deep inside everyone to live for something greater than themselves. Some live for their children. Some live to change the world. It doesn’t seem to matter how lofty the purpose. But having a purpose is essential for living life as you were designed. It is no coincidence that Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life:...

Examining Relationships...

With whom do I have the closest relationships? What connections are those relationships based on? How can I re-evaluate the depth of particular relationships to know where to put my energies? These are some of the questions I asked myself while sitting in on a course called, Your CrossRoads. Working with a non-profit for much of my career, I had considered literally hundreds of people to be friends. A belief is that the mission is held together by relationships and shared ethos. Consequently, I had almost no mental map to differentiate various relationships. However, when I left the group, it became more obvious who were my friends and who were relationships of convenience. True friends follow you in life; friendships of convenience or circumstance fade away. Now a couple of years out, I find myself thinking about my relationships and considering the differences between friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There are differences. In her CrossRoads course, creator Victoria Jeffs challenges participants to identify the foundations important to healthy relationships. The model helped me identify how I relate to various people in my life. The foundational pillars are touch points we have in common with others. Upon examination, I found that my closest friendships are with those people I share several touch points. They are: Intellect Emotion Social Spiritual Financial Physical Cultural Some people are in our lives due to circumstances. These include family members, work colleagues, and others we know through various groups in which we participate. The close relationships in our lives are those we have invited in. Like me, you can use the seven pillars to examine your closest relationships. This simple exercise can help you identify what aspects of those relationships are healthy and also what are unhealthy. Healthy relationships are life-giving....

Who Was St. Patrick?

Who was Saint Patrick, the patron saint of the Irish whose name represents all things green? Because of the holiday—St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated every March 17th—you might think this historical figure was an Irishman who drank green beer. In fact, neither is true. Saint Patrick was actually born in Scotland or Wales to parents who were Romans living as colonial bureaucrats in Britain! Born around 385, Patrick is surely to have drunk beer, or ale as it was called then. People drank a lot of beer back then because it was cleaner than water (that could give you nasty parasites and diseases). But as everybody knows, ale is more of a meal in a glass, and generally much darker than the standard pilsners and lagers from my Germanic ancestors and other Europeans. I don’t think they had green food coloring then; making beer (and rivers) green is an Irish-American invention meant to celebrate ethnicity. Patrick would have grown up with some privilege, as his parents worked for Roman occupiers. However, in his teens, a raiding party (that’s what they did back then) invaded and kidnapped Patrick off to Ireland, where he was made to heard sheep. It was as a slave in Ireland that he encountered God. There is nothing like captivity or other unpleasant circumstances to get you on your knees. He later wrote, “The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same…I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.” After about six years...

Lent

Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, 40 days in the Christian church calendar preceding Easter. Perhaps you think of Lent as a morbid time when we all have to get super serious, give up stuff, and consider how terrible we are. It is like that for many. But it doesn’t have to be like that for you. I offer some suggestions that may help you think about and engage in Lent differently this year. Every religion has seasons of penitence and reflection. That is good for the soul. But perhaps your soul needs watering. Maybe you’ve been in a dessert for way too long; your grass is withered and you need refreshment. Maybe you just feel distant, not only from God, but from your true self. Or perhaps you know it’s just time to step back a bit and reflect on things that matter. As Richard Rohr wrote in his introduction to Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent: “There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty. You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction. Lent is about both.” Rohr offers the idea that Lent can be a time to be fully known. “Allow yourself to be fully known,” he wrote, “and you will know what you need to know.” Or as social reformer and Saint, Teresa of Avila, wrote in the 16th century: “We find God in ourselves, and we find ourselves in God.” I invite you to set aside this season for reflection, to be known, and to bask in the love of The Divine. After all, that is...

Perception Checking

We think we see the world as it is. But we actually see it through our limited perceptions and stories we construct to explain it. We develop narratives about who we are, who other people are, and what events and communication mean. We’re on a constant quest to explain things to ourselves. Each of us was raised differently, had vastly different experiences, came from different cultures and were exposed to different kinds of information, so we all created our thinking patterns separately and distinctly. No wonder we have such a hard time understanding each other. “How could you POSSIBLY think THAT!?” we often ask. We forget we have limited perceptions, and over-trust our impressions. Even the Bible points this out, saying we only see as if looking at a reflection and knowing in part.* That is why ten people can witness a crime and all report a different story. It’s also why ten million people can watch the same television event and all have a distinct experience. It helps if we break down the process into a simple model: We are stimulated through our senses. What we observe (notice) is selectively based on what grabs our attention, meets a need, or is enjoyable. We then organize what we have sensed into thinking structures that make sense to us. Swiss developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget, called these knowledge or mental schemata that we developed from our unique experiences and what sociologists, Berger and Luckmann, called social construction.** After that we interpret; we assign meaning to what we sensed.  We confuse these stages, especially observation and interpretation. I understand how challenging this can be, especially in relationships. I have a good friend who is very different than me. We see the world in vastly different ways, and we...

How are you doing?

We are about to complete the first month of 2017. That’s right, we’re almost 1/12 through the new year already! It’s a great time to measure our initial progress. I set a few large goals for this year. Did you? How are you doing on them? Are you winning at some and have room to improve others? Well beating yourself up won’t do any good. Do y need to adjust some actual goals or do you need to alter your approach? I challenge to you ask yourself: Which goals have you achieved? Tell somebody of your accomplishments! Pat yourself on the back. Which goals are still in process? Are you making progress on them? Which goals need to be adjusted? Perhaps your goals weren’t SMART enough. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) Is it possible you’re not focusing on the right areas for now? (Click on Rate Your Life to see if you’re putting energy into the parts of your life that need the most attention now.) Success is not just about accomplishing all your goals, but also seeing where you need to adjust, setting new goals, or tweaking your approach.  Don’t beat yourself up for your failures. Rather focus on your accomplishments and make adjustments to continue moving forward. It’s not too late. After all, you still have 11/12 of the year...

049: Planting God Oct12

049: Planting God

https://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/medeor.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/49-Planting-God-with-Derek-Schoenhoff.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 52:02 — 47.6MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSDerek Schoenhoff talks about his just-released book, Planting God, an attempt to make God more accessible to everyone. Dedicated to rethinking stereotypical concepts of God, many of which are inconsistent with the bible and nature, Derek loves to talk about the nature and character of God, reconciliation, and the future of the church. His fun and simple approach to difficult issues make him relevant for all generations. Check out the website PlantingGod.com for more information about the book. The book is available at in various formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other...